10 September 2019
The ACT Government has agreed to significantly improve connectivity for the southern end of the City Hill precinct by raising London Circuit to form a level intersection with Commonwealth Avenue.
The City Renewal Authority proposed this important change to the city centre’s movement network because it will create significant long-term benefits to the people of Canberra.
The government’s decision to support this city-shaping project as part of the second stage of the city-wide light rail network demonstrates a willingness to put good design and people-focused outcomes at the centre of its decisions about Canberra’s future.
Major Projects Canberra will manage the project as part of the construction of stage 2A of Canberra’s light rail network, which will extend along London Circuit to Commonwealth Park and Acton Waterfront.
As well as improving active-travel connections around the city centre, raising London Circuit also significantly improves connectivity between the city centre and the lake.
The current split-level configuration of the intersection and associated cloverleaves, inhibit pedestrian activity and retain an inferior urban design. In its grade-separated configuration, London Circuit bridge has created a disconnected public environment and is a barrier to bridging the real and perceived barriers between the lake and the city centre.
Creating a level intersection realises the intent of the Federal Government’s National Capital Plan and carries through with the ACT Government’s vision of Canberra as outlined in Canberra: A Statement of Ambition and the City Plan, which describes London Circuit as the city’s high street with generous verges, street trees and active street frontages.
In order to turn the current split-level, overpass-underpass configuration into a more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly intersection the road level will be raised on either side of Commonwealth Avenue.
The result will be a signalised at-grade intersection with Commonwealth Avenue that improves safety and connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and cars, allowing people to more easily move in all directions.
View a version of the redacted business case for this project here.
The current grade-separated configuration was created at a time when traffic engineers prioritised cars above people. At-grade intersections in built-up locations are now widely-considered to provide a superior urban design outcome that creates a better place for people, particularly pedestrians.
Having the intersection at the same level also supports active street frontages on all sides.
This allows for a normal signalised intersection that improves safety, accessibility and connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and cars, allowing people to move easily in all directions without having to change from one street level to another.
Raising London Circuit will also future-proof Canberra’s strategic transport corridor and support the greater use of active travel modes.
There are a number of important factors in the timing of this project, particularly the timing of Light Rail Stage 2A and the upcoming release to market of City Section 63.
The long-term future of the London Circuit alignment needed to be decided prior to the planning for the release to market of City Section 63, which is bordered by London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue.
The raising of London Circuit also supports better place and transport outcomes for Light Rail Stage 2A, allowing the tracks to be located in the median and creating active, street-level frontages along the route.
Combining the procurement of the two projects allows for increased efficiencies and the best value-for-money outcome for the ACT.
The raising of London Circuit and the creation of a level intersection with Commonwealth Avenue is a major infrastructure project and will necessarily require changes to the way people travel through and around our city during its construction.
Traffic management measures will be in place to minimise this disruption which is necessary to make this important improvement to our city’s urban landscape.
Construction work affecting west London Circuit will not be able to begin until the completion of the Edinburgh Avenue extension between London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue.
Significant ongoing community engagement will be held during the construction program.
The City Renewal Authority will work with Major Projects Canberra to engage with the Canberra community during this project.